1st Riga Biennial of Contemporary Art
2 June – 28 October 2018
Everything Was Forever,
Until It Was No More
curated by Katerina Gregos
associate curator: Solvej Helweg Ovesen
Henrike Naumann’s newly commissioned installation for the Biennial, Eurotique (2018) is based in the phenomenin of ‚Eiroremonts‘. Latvian for ‚Euro-repair‘. The artist worked with the elements that were used to renovate homes in Latvia in the late 1990s, such as low ceilings with built-in lights, laminate flooring and plasterboard walls. The installation positions itself between museum, store and domestiv space. ‘Eiroremonts’ started in the early 1990s, when at first only the more affluent were able to afford it. By the 2000s this style was available to almost everyone, becoming the de facto style for renovating a home or an office intended for sale or rent at a good price. In Latvia in the 1990s, there was a renovation boom, parallel to the privatisation of the communal and the individualisation of the domestic. In 2004 Latvia became part of the EU. Many young Latvians feel that ‘Eiroremonts’ represents a longing for ‘the West’ that their parents felt they needed to accomplish, and a way of dealing with a complicated past and memories by covering them in new walls and furnishings. Did the crisis of 2008, when the ideal of the West started to crumble, mark a turning point in the idealisation of Western living? Why do these interiors make young people today so melancholic? Do ‘Eiroremonts’ represent a future that never came?